In 1915, Francis (Frank) Bourne enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Winnipeg. He was 16 years old - 5’ 4” with a 31 inch chest upon enrolment - a boy among men.
In the First World War, buglers - often known as bugle boys - were sometimes enlisted before 18 years of age based on the assumption that they would not be sent into combat. However, Pte Bourne was soon off to England then to France at the end of 1916.
These young buglers were treated like all other soldiers. For example, Pte Bourne received 28 days punishment in 1916 for using obscene language when on active service. He was given Field Punishment Number One which meant that he was placed in restraints and attached to a fixed object, such as a gun wheel or a fence post, for up to two hours a day.
Pte Bourne did redeem himself after “years of continuous good service” and, in 1919, was awarded the Good Conduct badge, a chevron worn on the left sleeve of the Service Dress uniform. Frank Bourne made it through the war and was discharged in 1919, returning home to Winnipeg.